We conduct lab experiments to investigate demand for consumption agency in married couples from Pakistan. Most subjects are no better at guessing their spouse's preferences than those of a stranger, suggesting that individual executive agency has instrumental value. We find significant evidence of demand for agency in all experiments, varying with the cost and anticipated instrumental benefit of agency. But subjects often make choices incompatible with purely instrumental motives—e.g., paying for agency when knowing their partner assigned them their preferred choice. Female subjects are willing to exert agency even when they have little executive agency within their household.
Afzal, Uzma, Giovanna d'Adda, Marcel Fafchamps, and Farah Said.
"Intrahousehold Consumption Allocation and Demand for Agency: A Triple Experimental Investigation."
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
Household Production and Intrahousehold Allocation
Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development